The American Library Association condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information. Every year, the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles a list of the Top10 Most Challenged Books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The lists are based on information from media stories and voluntary reports sent to OIF from communities across the U.S.
A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.
A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.
Relocating materials can be an outcome to a challenge and can be a form of censorship.
Restricting access to materials for certain groups is a form of censorship.
Adapted from About Banned & Challenged Books
from ALA's About Banned and Challenged Books
Books usually are challenged with the best intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information. See Notable First Amendment Cases.
Often challenges are motivated by a desire to protect children from “inappropriate” sexual content or “offensive” language. The following were the top three reasons cited for challenging materials as reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom: